Get to Know Us

Teachers and Board Members

Learn about the people that make this community great.

Meet Our Teachers

Our highly trained staff come from diverse teaching backgrounds and have unique interests.

Alex Griffen

Alex Griffen

OG Tutor, Science & History

Learn More about Ms. Alex!

Alex hails from New York state but has called Colorado and VSA home for two years now. She was originally certified as a science teacher at Cornell University in NY but has since had extensive Orton Gillingham training and experience, including tutoring at Rocky Mountain Camp for kids with dyslexia. She is currently VSA’s resident Science/History teacher, as well as a 1:1 OG tutor for several students. In her free time, Alex enjoys rock climbing, running, skiing, hiking, camping, and making/enjoying music. She loves any chance to get outside, which makes her extra excited to teach science and get younger generations interested and invested in nature!

Mindy Russell

Mindy Russell

OG Tutor, Reading & Writing

Learn More about Ms. Mindy!

My name is Mindy and I’m Dyslexic! My passion is driven by my personal struggles with dyslexia and the lack of support available for my difference in learning. I went into teaching to make a change in education. I don’t want any child that struggles with the same disability to go through life feeling like they are not smart simply because the public education system wasn’t set up to meet their needs. Sadly, in the four years that I was pursuing my Special Education degree, Dyslexia wasn’t even mentioned in the curriculum! Nor was there available training for a masters degree in Dyslexia Education at the time I was seeking it. Luckily, I was able to find Joyce Bilgrave, an Orton-Gillingham expert, was trained, and am able to make the difference in teaching that I wish I had when I was growing up. I am also a parent of a child with Dyslexia and have a full understanding of what parents struggle with when trying to get the services their child needs. I am a lifetime learner and enjoy learning from my children, my students, and members of my community. Someday, I would love to take my kids to Lake Powell on a houseboat. My dream vacation would be picking sea glass off of the shore on a beach in California.

Jen Halsall

Jen Halsall

OG Tutor

Learn More about Ms. Jen!
Jen is a Colorado native, born in Steamboat Springs. She has taught many ages, from pre-school to adults and is a certified advanced level Therapeutic Horseback Riding instructor. She has a degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant and a Bachelors’s in Psychology from Wittenberg University in Ohio. She has had training in Beginning and Advanced Orton Gillingham and was a 1:1 tutor at Rocky Mountain Camp for Dyslexia in 2018. She is also advocating for all kids with dyslexia in Jeffco, working towards change at the district level for dyslexia awareness and training through JeffcoKID. Jen will be tutoring 1:1 at VSA, as a part-time tutor this year. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her husband and playing outdoors with her 2 kids and 2 dogs, Tigger and Gypsy.
Garrett Grigsby

Garrett Grigsby

OG Math

Learn More about Mr. Garrett!
My name is Garrett Grigsby and I am proud to say that Vertical Skills Academy is where I teach. I have been teaching for 5 years and have known from a young age that I wanted to be a teacher and help people. Working with the wonderful students here at Vertical Skills Academy has been a privilege and something that I look forward to every day. I grew up in Evergreen and attended the Metropolitan State University of Denver where I received both a B.A. in History and a Colorado Teaching Licensure in Elementary Education. During my free time, I enjoy snowboarding, riding dirt bikes, traveling, and spending time with my family.
Christine Riedlin

Christine Riedlin

OG Tutor, Reading & Writing

Learn More about Ms. Christine!
Chris Prindle

Chris Prindle

Dyslexia Therapist &Tutor

Learn More about Ms. Chris!

Ms. Chris is thrilled to be working as a dyslexia therapist & tutor at Vertical Skills Academy. She loves spending her summers working at Rocky Mountain Dyslexia Camp. Chris earned her B.A. in English Literature and Education from Azusa Pacific University. She went on to the University of Colorado in Denver to earn a Special Education teaching license. She has completed a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree through the Literacy Specialist Intervention and Reading Specialist program at Colorado College. Chris holds certifications through ALTA as a CALT and CERI as a Dyslexia Specialist. Chris has 5+ years of intervention experience in both special education and general education settings. She is a current board member for the Rocky Mountain ALTA chapter. Chris is an enthusiastic educator and advocate for equal access to literacy best practices in Colorado.

Emily Kemp

Emily Kemp

Tutor, Reading & Writing

Learn More about Ms. Emily!

Emily is a longtime member of the Evergreen mountain community. She is a native Coloradan and continues to enjoy living the mountain life. Emily graduated from MetroState University with a Bachelors’s degree in Behavioral Science & Elementary Education. Her passion for helping children succeed led her into the education field where she found her niche in literacy intervention. She hopes to create a fun & exciting learning environment for her students so they can develop a life long love of learning. Emily, her husband, and their two daughters are excited to be apart of the VSA family. 

Our Therapy Dogs

Reading to dogs reduces anxiety.

When reading to dogs, our students are able to feel more comfortable. They don’t feel like the dog is judging or pressuring them in any way, therefore it allows them to read more fluently and with ease.

Meet Our Board of Directors

Our board consists of highly qualified women with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Colleen Skates

Colleen Skates

Board Treasurer

Learn More about Colleen!

Colleen has been a mountain-area resident since 1995 and is originally from Massachusetts. In May 2013, Colleen earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the University of Colorado Denver. Her professional experience is in the management of education-related nonprofit organizations. In her spare time, of which there is little, she loves spending time with her family and dog, especially hiking the areas near her home in Evergreen.

Corinne Stephenson

Corinne Stephenson

Board President

Learn More about Corinne!

Corinne Stephenson is the President of VSA’s School Board. She is a mom of three children, the oldest of which is 13 years old, attended VSA for 2 years, and has severe dyslexia and ADHD. She has been a consistent volunteer and teacher/student advocate for 9+ years and has previous school board experience. She was on the school board at a local charter school in the Denver area for 3 years. Corinne also has a long background in fundraising, including direct work with Children’s Hospital Colorado. She has seen first-hand how VSA can have a positive impact on the lives of children with dyslexia and is ecstatic to take on her new role as Board President within the VSA community.

Angie Wulff

Angie Wulff

Board Member

Learn More about Angie!

Angie Wulff has been teaching children and adults for over 20 years.  She has a Masters in Educational Psychology, a teaching license in K-12 Moderate Needs (students with learning differences), and an advanced degree in library science.  She is also a board certified Life Coach with a focus in ADHD (Attentional Deficit Hyperactivity Disability- especially executive functioning skills).  She was a teacher and librarian at Conifer High School, Bergen Valley Elementary and most recently at Jefferson County Open School (JCOS).  

Currently, in addition to being an Success Coach/Tutor, she enjoys substituting at VSA and JCOS.  This is her first year on the board at VSA.  Her passion is helping students to become confident and successful in their academic lives.  

Lindsay Lesch

Lindsay Lesch

Board Vice President

Learn More about Lindsay!

Ms. Lesch is the owner and primary tutor for Academic Ascents, LLC is located in Frisco, Colorado. Originally from Maine, she graduated from the University of Maine, where she earned a B.S. in Special Education. She then pursued her certification as an Orton-Gillingham tutor through the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council. She has been working with students in a school setting, summer camps, and as a private tutor for over ten years. She is now certified as a Dyslexia Practitioner through the International Dyslexia Association and has earned her Masters Certificate in Dyslexia Studies and Language-Based Learning Disabilities from Southern New Hampshire University.

In addition to her tutoring endeavors, Ms. Lesch has seven years of teaching experience as a Special Education teacher. She is dually certified as both a Special Education Generalist (Ages 5-21) and as an Elementary Education Teacher (Grades K-6) Her passion is to help every student experience success, especially in academic areas that are challenging. By working with every student to help them identify their individual learning strengths and needs, she empowers students to maintain a positive perspective despite the challenges they face in school. Additionally, she hosts workshops for parents, teachers, and community members to develop a greater awareness of Dyslexia in the schools and community.

Lisa Thoennes

Lisa Thoennes

Board Member

Learn More about Lisa!

Lisa brings to VSA over 30 years of experience working with special education, emotionally disturbed and at-risk youth in Illinois, Colorado and Kansas. At her current job, Lisa directs both the school and the special education programming. Lisa is an asset to families and school districts throughout the U.S. for management and implementation of Individualized Education Planning. She is also trained in Lindamood Bell reading intervention and provides ongoing program development with a special emphasis on curriculum and individualized services. Lisa will bring a new perspective and support to our Board.

Students

Therapy Dogs

Staff

Years Established

Get In Touch

Location: 32156 Castle Ct, Suite 201, Evergreen, CO 80439

Telephone: (303) 562-1900

Email: info@verticalskillsacademy.org

School Hours: M-F: 8:30am – 3:00pm